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Jameson Select Reserve Black Barrel

Average score from 3 reviews and 5 ratings 82

Jameson Select Reserve Black Barrel

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Jameson Select Reserve Black Barrel

On ice at Intercontinental Hotel, Madrid, May 7 2019. A wheat-colored pour with golden highlights. Very intense nose, completely biased by the barrel: vanilla, clove, tobacco, caramel. In the mouth it proves drier than the nose foretold. Boozy and umami as you sip. Medium-lasting finish with new tinges of tobacco.


From what I understand, Black Barrel contains more Single Pot Still than standard Jameson. It contains some sherry-casked whiskey and some re-charred ex-bourbon barrels.Special thanks to @Victor for recommending this one to me.

Tasting Notes

  • Nose (undiluted): bright Sherry, shortbread biscuits, buttered whole wheat toast, honey, oak

  • Palate (undiluted): Rich, medium-bodied, dark toffee, oak spices (cinnamon, nutmeg), marzipan, barley, brioche buns

  • Finish: medium length, red fruit, butter, some ripe (or dried) mango, green apples, slight spirity note

The fruity, mango note on the finish actually reminds me of the dried mangoes I buy at Costco, but that may not be helpful to anyone else. Adding water brings out lots of brightness on the nose. Lemons, green floral notes and cinnamon are all there. Unfortunately, the palate and finish are diminished by the addition of water. Even a quarter teaspoon of water thins out the body and diminishes a lot of the complexity. The palate becomes all toffee and brioche; the fruitiness and spiciness all but disappear. Skip the water. At 40% ABV, it really doesn’t need it. Also, there is more slightly bitter spiritiness on the finish with water.

This whisky, undiluted, is one of the most pleasant surprises I've had in a longtime. At $49 in The People's Republic of Ontariostan (possibly soon-to-be DoFo's FordNation shudder), it's a bargain. Highly recommended.

@MadSingleMalt, it's a different style from Redbreast 12, for a different mood. Usually I'd go for Redbreast 12, but the Black Barrel is extremely drinkable, and it costs about 1/3 less than does Redbreast 12. Black Barrel is a big step up from most batches of standard Jameson.

@MadSingleMalt I would recommend someone try this before dropping > $80 on a bottle of Redbreast or Green Spot. It gives a really good representation of the Single Spot Still character, but there’s definitely some “regular” Jameson present on the finish (what I perceive as green apples).


This expression has recently arrived at the LCBO (I think it was previously available only in NY for some reason). With this one, the pot still is blended with "small-batch" grain whiskeys (with a higher ratio of pot still), and matured in a combination of American oak sherry casks and flame-charred bourbon barrels. Information and tasting notes are printed stylishly across the entire cardboard box, in text that is almost the same colour as the background - very annoying.

The colour is a full gold - perhaps a slight hint darker than the standard Jameson. On the nose, buttered toast, tropical fruits, plums, grapeseed oil. Grassy and savoury - an herb garden. Hints of oak, with caramel and vanilla. Nutty. More barley sugar with water. Very nice cereal notes - you can tell there is more pot-still in this than in the standard Jameson.

Rich and round on the palate with an oaky pull; also apples, pears, strawberries and papaya. As with the nose, caramel and vanilla come with the charred casks. Some lovely spice. Juicy and mouth-watering, more so with water. Fuller than the standard blend.

The finish is not as furry as the standard Jameson but not perfect: more herbs, sherry and oak with late-arriving apple and spice. This is quite delicious, a much stronger offering than the standard Jameson (but quite a bit more expensive in Ontario: $32 vs. $50) Tasting them side-by-side, there is no contest - the Black Barrel is a very fine whiskey indeed. Dominic Roskrow scores this a 90, and Jim Murray scores this a 91.5.

I would agree with you. Though, depending on how you define value for money, the 2009 Rarest Vintage Reserve was worth every penny of that $300.

But speaking more realistically, I'm not giving up on new Master Distiller Brian Nation yet. Even though I was disappointed with the 2014 Midleton Very Rare (which, though it had his signature on it, was distilled by Barry Crocket at least 12 years prior), and the standard Jameson hasn't improved, I'm over the moon for so many Midleton products that I remain loyal.

Thanks for a fine review, @talexander.

I was surprised at how well this Jameson Black Barrel works. In my view the Jameson Black Barrel Reserve currently represents (in my locale) very good value for money, maybe the best value for money, in the Jameson line.

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